Fri July 11 2014 5:22 AM

Topic: Middle School

Review of _Remember Little Bighorn_

Walker, Paul Robert.  Remember Little Bighorn: Indians, Soldiers, and Scouts Tell Their Stories.  Washington: National Geographic, 2006   CL 972.8 Wal54r 2006



My review: This absorbing history of the Battle of Little Bighorn includes details of the background and circumstances of the battle as well as the aftermath.  Accounts by many survivors on both sides help Walker to present a balanced account.  He makes plain, though he does not emphasize, that the real driving force behind the fight for the Black Hills was “the news that set America on fire” (p. 11) —  white miners’ excitement over and  greed for gold. The firsthand accounts are vivid and moving and give a real sense of the violence of the battle and the agony of both the soldiers, under George Custer and Marcus Reno, and the Indians, under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.  There is a foreword by John Doerner, Chief Historian for Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  Contemporary drawings by Indian survivors and by George Catlin give a sense of action and immediacy that contrasts with the rather stiff photographs of the period.   There is also an extremely helpful topographical map that gives the probable movements of both Army and Indian groups. Indexed.  Selected sources include, among others: Fox, Richard Allan. Archaeology, History, and Custer’s Last Battle.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993. 

Greene, Jerome A., ed.  Lakota and Cheyenne.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.

Hardoff, Richard G., comp. and ed.  Indian Views of the Custer Fight.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005.

The Lexile number is 1170, so this book, although in picture book format, is best for middle and even high school. As a high school junior, my son wrote a report on Crazy Horse, and had difficulty finding sources in his school library or the public library where I was the director at the time.  Too bad this excellent book was not available to him—it’s only 27 years too late!